Full ex­tent of pae­dophile’s crimes may not be known Ex-po­lice­man jailed last year

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Ali­son Stacey Staff Re­porter

ASOLICITOR rep­re­sent­ing a vic­tim of a pae­dophile po­lice of­fi­cer who abused his po­si­tion to sex­u­ally ex­ploit young boys says the jus­tice sys­tem may have only “scratched the sur­face” of the true num­ber of his vic­tims.

For­mer po­lice­man and Scout mas­ter Al­lan Richards was jailed in Novem­ber for 22 years af­ter be­ing found guilty of 40 his­tor­i­cal sex of­fences dat­ing back to the 1970s.

Seven­teen boys had been vic­tims of abuse or ex­ploita­tion at the hands of preda­tory Richards, from Tile Cross, with his of­fences in­clud­ing rape and in­de­cent as­saults.

Over two tri­als, Birm­ing­ham Crown Court heard how he had sex­u­ally abused boys, some as young as eight years old, at po­lice sta­tions, scout camps, in swim­ming pools, in a park, at his home, and other lo­ca­tions.

One vic­tim is now pre­par­ing to take civil ac­tion against the West Mid­lands Po­lice, af­ter the force ad­mit­ted that op­por­tu­ni­ties may have been missed to bring Richards to jus­tice 10 years ear­lier.

Now his so­lic­i­tor, Cyrilia Davies Knight, from Hudgell So­lic­i­tors, has said she be­lieves it is highly likely there were more vic­tims than those who formed part of the crim­i­nal cases against Richards. She said: “We have se­ri­ous con­cerns that there may still be many peo­ple out there who were vic­tims of Richards and have still not come for­ward.

“That means they are still to re­ceive any form of rel­e­vant and prob­a­bly much needed sup­port, and are still cop­ing alone.

“It was only last year that of­fi­cers from West Mid­lands Po­lice con­tacted our client and told him some other vic­tims had come for­ward.

“He has, quite un­der­stand­ably, been badly af­fected by what hap­pened to him and it has had a huge im­pact on his life to this date, and will do for the fore­see­able fu­ture.

“He was con­tacted as the po­lice had put Richards’ de­tails through the data­base to see which cases he had worked on. That is when our client’s name came up.

“This is far from a com­plete record of the young boys Richards came into con­tact with though over many years.”

Af­ter the trial it was re­vealed that Richards was re­moved from a pub­lic-fac­ing role in 2004, af­ter al­le­ga­tions were made about him.

He was kicked out of the scouts the same year, af­ter the Scout As­so­ci­a­tion be­came aware of the al­le­ga­tion.

He re­mained with the force un­til he re­tired in 2011, but a fresh in­ves­ti­ga­tion was launched in 2014 when an­other vic­tim came for­ward, lead­ing to his con­vic­tions.

The force re­ferred it­self to the In­de­pen­dent Po­lice Com­plaints Com­mis­sion (IPCC) in May 2015 hav­ing ad­mit­ted op­por­tu­ni­ties may have been missed to pre­vent Richards abus­ing other vic­tims af­ter the 2004 al­le­ga­tions came to light.

Ms Davies Knight added: “The judge in court de­scribed him as some­one who would have been a preda­tor for the whole of his adult life, and there­fore some­one who would likely find a way to get to young vic­tims in many ways, such as through his po­si­tion as a scout leader.

“It is clear from sup­port­ing our client that Richards re­lied on his po­si­tion as a po­lice of­fi­cer to frighten his vic­tims and in­tim­i­date them into never speak­ing out. Our client would not have come for­ward. He sim­ply didn’t feel he could.

“Many peo­ple would also per­haps feel un­able to come for­ward and face the trauma of giv­ing ev­i­dence in court as our client, and oth­ers, so bravely did.

“It is likely that the tri­als there­fore may have only have scratched the sur­face in terms of iden­ti­fy­ing the true num­ber of vic­tims.”

It is likely the tri­als may have only have scratched the sur­face in iden­ti­fy­ing the true num­ber of vic­tims

> For­mer po­lice­man and Scout mas­ter Al­lan Richards was jailed for 22 years

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